Abstract Word Anomia

Sue Franklin, David Howard, Karalyn Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

91 Citations (Scopus)


We describe the word-finding impairment demonstrated by an aphasic patient, DRB. Since he has preserved comprehension of all written words, we argue that the anomia cannot be a consequence of a general semantic deficit, but is rather an impairment in word retrieval. DRB is only very mildly impaired on picture naming tests, but is markedly anomic in spontaneous speech. This discrepancy is explained in terms of his being particularly anomic for abstract words. We demonstrate this abstract word anomia in four ways: 1. DRB is worse at repeating abstract words than comprehending them. 2. DRB is poor at reading abstract irregular words, where the word pronunciation has to be lexically retrieved. 3. DRB is impaired in within-category fluency tasks, when the categories are abstract. 4. When asked to give word associations to written words, DRB produces responses that are more concrete than those given by control subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-566
Number of pages18
JournalCognitive Neuropsychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 1995
Externally publishedYes

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    Franklin, S., Howard, D., & Patterson, K. (1995). Abstract Word Anomia. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 12(5), 549-566. https://doi.org/10.1080/02643299508252007